Author(s): Simper D, Stalboerger PG, Panetta CJ, Wang S, Caplice NM
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Recent animal data suggest that vascular smooth muscle cells within the neointima of the vessel wall may originate from bone marrow, providing indirect evidence for circulating smooth muscle progenitor cells (SPCs). Evidence for circulating SPCs in human subjects does not exist, and the mechanism whereby such putative SPCs may home to sites of plaque formation is presently not understood but is likely to involve expression of specific surface adhesion molecules, such as integrins. In this study, we aimed to culture smooth muscle outgrowth cells (SOCs) from SPCs in human peripheral blood and characterize surface integrin expression on these cells. METHODS AND RESULTS: Human mononuclear cells isolated from buffy coat were seeded on collagen type 1 matrix and outgrowth cells selected in endothelial growth medium (EGM-2) or EGM-2 and platelet-derived growth factor BB. Selection in platelet-derived growth factor BB-enriched medium caused rapid outgrowth and expansion of SOC to >40 population doublings in a 4-month period. These SOCs were positive for smooth muscle cell-specific alpha actin (alphaSMA), myosin heavy chain, and calponin on immunofluorescence and Western blotting and were also positive for CD34, Flt1, and Flk1 receptor but negative for Tie-2 receptor expression, suggesting a potential bone marrow angioblastic origin. In contrast, endothelial outgrowth cells (EOCs) grown in EGM-2 alone and the initial MNC population were negative for these smooth muscle-specific markers. Integrin alpha5beta1 expression by FACS and Western blotting was significantly increased in SOCs compared with EOCs, and this was confirmed by 8-fold greater adhesion of SOC to fibronectin (P<0.001), an effect that could be decreased using an alpha5beta1 antibody. Finally, SOC showed a significantly greater in vitro proliferative potential compared with EOCs of similar passage (P<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates for the first time outgrowth of smooth muscle cells with a specific growth, adhesion, and integrin profile from putative SPC in human blood. These data have implications for our understanding of adult vascular smooth muscle cell differentiation, proliferation, and homing.
This article was published in Circulation
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Cardiology